Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Two Years after Lawsuit, Parties Face off in County Clerk Race

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Two Years after Lawsuit, Parties Face off in County Clerk Race

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The race for Oklahoma County clerk revives tensions between the incumbent and challenger that had been resolved two years ago by an out-of-court settlement.

One of Carolynn Caudill's opponents this year is Chalynn "Charlie" Phillips, who worked under Caudill as a deputy clerk. Phillips had been a county employee for 10 years when she was fired in 2014.

At the time, Caudill had just pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and was enrolled in a substance abuse rehabilitation program. Phillips accused her boss of misusing taxpayer funds to help pay for the rehab; Caudill said she paid for the non-insurance portion of the bill herself.

The lawsuit was settled with the board of county commissioners agreeing to pay $120,000. Caudill said it was less expensive than fighting in court.

"I know what she's going to say about me," Phillips said Monday. "She'll say I'm a disgruntled employee. I'm actually a disgruntled citizen."

Caudill said, "She's very angry, very angry. Everybody has noticed it."

Caudill drew four opponents as she runs for a sixth term, including Leisa L. Haynes, 51, of Choctaw. Haynes is working toward a master's degree in public administration at the University of Central Oklahoma and identifies herself as a small-business woman and assistant to the mayor of Tuttle.

Haynes has also highlighted Caudill's driving record in her campaign material: "These are the only 2 times the incumbant (sic) has been caught with 2 DUI's, 2 leaving the scene of an accident. Aren't we glad she hasn't killed anyone yet. Vote for me and she'll be out!"

Like Phillips, Haynes is a Republican, as is David Hooten, 53, of Oklahoma City, a Grammy Award-nominated trumpet player, food retail entrepreneur and a self-declared family conservative. The latter candidates could not be reached for comment Monday.

Caudill, 69, lives in Oklahoma City. Phillips, 44, lives in Bethany, where she runs United Storm Restoration.

The winner of the Republican primary on June 28 - and a runoff on Aug. 23, if necessary - will face Libertarian Chris Powell, 44, of Oklahoma City in the general election Nov. 8. The position pays $105,000 per year. …

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